The basis for all of this speculation came from a forthcoming book title spotted on Amazon.com.
It’s a good time for these rumors. The last major release of Aperture came out in early 2010, so it’s easy to speculate that the next major release will also come out early in the year. In rumor theory, that’s perfectly logical.
Even the name itself came under scrutiny. Instead of Aperture 4, this new version called Aperture X gave hope to a complete rewrite and changed to the Aperture that we know. Since the last release of Final Cut Pro was also titled as version X, this must be plausible proof that the same changes are coming to Aperture. Never mind that Final Cut Pro and Aperture serve different markets and needs.
Some Internet Marketer — hoping to cash-in on the new version — even registered ApertureX.net and is trying to sell it. I hope he appreciates the back link, but I wouldn’t recommend paying for that domain.
The Problem with the Aperture X Rumor
While all of these little clues may be titillating to rumor mongers and the easily excited, there’s not much of a reason to get excited. You see, we’ve seen this rumor before. According to a post on MacRumors.com from October 27, 2009, Aperture X was scheduled for launch before the end of that year. Aperture 3 — not Aperture x — was released on February 9, 2010.
All this Amazon listing means is that a couple of book authors are speculating that a new version of Aperture is due and they’re writing a book for it. Are they under NDA with Apple? Doubtful. Apple’s security and secrecy about forthcoming products is notorious in the tech industry. The authors are probably writing the book based upon the current version. When the new version ships, they’ll do a mad dash to update the book with any new features of the next release.
Why not just wait until the next version ships before starting to write about it? Because people want books when a product launches. Because their competition is doing exactly the same thing. They know that much of the new version will work exactly like the old version. In order to cash-in on the product launch, they need to be as close to ready as possible to release a book when the next version of Aperture hits the market.
What about the title? How do they know it’s Aperture X, not Aperture 4? They don’t know. Just as with the rumor from 2009, the “X” is nothing more than a placeholder in the title. Like the contents of the book, it’ll get updated when Apple announces the product.
Isn’t Aperture Supposed to be Dead?
Apple upgraded Aperture nine times in 2012 - ranging from version 3.2.2 at the start of the year to the current 3.4.3 version. Despite providing so many free updates with some useful features, a number of folks declared that Apple abandoned Aperture and it was time for them to do the same.
How utterly stupid.
I have no idea what kind of logic determines that a product with nine updates in a year has been abandoned by its developer. Yet, since there wasn’t a major version release, they convinced themselves that Aperture was doomed and it was time to make the switch to Lightroom.
Both programs do a fantastic job. As I’ve detailed on this blog, each has some strengths and weaknesses compared to the other. My advice to those who are thinking about switching is to pay attention to those details. Switching from one digital asset manager to another is a big deal. Unless you find something in one program that you desperately need and it’s lacking in your current software — don’t switch! It’s just not worth the cost and effort. Since your edits in Aperture and Lightroom don’t affect the actual file, you’re going to lose a lot of your work when you make the switch.
Aperture vs Lightroom: Conclusion
I have no inside knowledge about the next version of Aperture. You can try to read the tea leaves and divine your own conclusion. For some, that means abandoning ship from a product that works well and is seeing constant updates — free updates. My own speculation is that Aperture is due for a major revision this year. I speculated the same thing last year. In the mean time, my current version of Aperture continues happily working.
The best advice I can give you is to avoid getting your shorts in a knot about an upgrade. If you aren’t being served by your digital asset manager today and something else will resolve your problem, switch. Otherwise, forget about it and be pleasantly surprised when something new comes along.